Understanding the importance of RNA binding proteins (RBPs)
RNA molecules serve a variety of essential roles in the cell. These include not only the well-characterized role as an information carrier between the DNA genome and translation at ribosomes but also non-coding roles in regulating gene expression, telomere maintenance, and a variety of other aspects of cellular physiology (1, 2). (Figure 1).
The processing of and regulation through RNA molecules is tightly controlled by RNA binding proteins (RBPs), which bind to RNAs through recognition of sequence and structural motifs and regulate RNA processing in cell-type, condition-specific, or temporal manners (3).
Recent studies have estimated over 1500 RBPs in the human genome, which play roles throughout the RNA life cycle (3). Mutation of proper RBP activity has been linked to cancer, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and numerous other diseases, and the emergence of genome sequencing techniques will continue to rapidly expand our knowledge of RBPs causally mutated in disease (2).
Figure 1. Central dogma of molecular biology
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